Blackwater kept its head above water with a triumphant closing game in the elimination round.
The Elite banked on a crucial closing flurry to outlast the Phoenix Fuel Masters, 83-78, in a tough nip-and-tuck battle and thus assure themselves of at least a playoff crack at the last quarterfinals berth in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.
Poy Erram, John Pinto, Toto Jose and Mike Digregorio carried Blackwater past Phoenix at the finish, enabling the Elite to gain solo eighth place with a closing 5-6 win-loss card in the elims.
Phoenix dropped to joint ninth with TNT KaTropa and Meralco at 4-6. These three teams need to win their closing games for a possible playoff shot at the eighth quarters slot.
At 5-6, the Elite will now have to wait what will be their situation at the end of the eliminations on March 2.
They gain outright playoff entry should Phoenix, TNT KaTropa and Meralco all lose their closing games in the tourney.
Blackwater 83 – DiGregorio 14, Belo 14, Jose 14, Sumang 12, Erram 12, Pinto 5, Sena 4, Palma 4, Cortez 3, Cruz 1, Javier 0, Banal 0, Marcelo 0, Neypes 0
PHoenix 78 – Perkins 17, Jazul 13, Chan 13, Kramer 11, Alolino 10, Chua 6, Mendoza 6, Dehesa 2, Intal 0, Wilson 0, Eriobu 0, Guevarra 0, Cortes 0
Quarterscores: 14-19, 40-41, 65-65, 83-78.